Mumbai: Cracking the whip, the BCCI on Monday terminated the contract of IPL franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala for non-payment of bank guarantee, thus abruptly ending the controversial Kerala team's association with the cash-rich league after just one year.
The decision to terminate Kochi franchise was taken at the BCCI's Annual General Meeting here on Monday, in which the new office bearers of the Board were also elected.
"Because of the irremediable breach committed by the Kochi franchise, the BCCI has decided to encash the bank guarantee in their possession and also terminate the franchise," new BCCI President N Srinivasan told reporters after the AGM.
Asked if the BCCI would reconsider its decision and give the franchise a chance to return, Srinivasan bluntly rejected such a suggestion.
"No, we have terminated the franchise because the breach is not capable of being remedied," he clarified.
The consortium, which was mired in a bitter ownership dispute since its very inception, defaulted on a Rs 156 crore annual payment it was to make as bank guarantee despite reported reminders from the IPL authorities.
The franchise, which was bought for Rs 1,550 crore, was supposed to make the yearly payment for the next 10 years.
Kochi's termination means the 10-team tournament would be reduced to nine.
Srinivasan said any decision to conduct fresh auction for a new franchise would be taken by the Rajiv Shukla-led IPL Governing Council. Shukla was named as the new IPL chairman today, succeeding Chirayu Amin.
Incidentally, the BCCI's working committee had last year rejected demands from Kochi and the Pune Warriors for a reduction in their franchisee fees.
The two new franchises, which made their debut this year, had sought a 25 per cent waiver on the grounds that the BCCI had stated in the bidding document that each team would play 18 league matches in a season but the schedule was later reduced to 14 matches per team.
Led by Mahela Jayawardene, Kochi has also been hitting the headlines due to its owners' reported desire to shift the team's base to Ahmedabad.
Kochi had faced the prospect of being axed even last year when the BCCI had questioned its shareholding patterns but the matter was later settled after agreement between various owners.